Anjali Saji On’ Bombay’

Engineer, Ashgar Ali. “Economic and Political

 

Weekly”; On ‘Bombay’. Vol. 30, No. 26 (Jul. 1, 1995). P. 1556. Web. 23-06-2016

 

This article from the Economic and Political Weekly deals with the situations and restrictions the film Bombay faced while releasing. Bombay deals with the socio-political situation between the Hindus and Muslims during the Babari masjid scenario. This movie shows a Hindu boy falling in love with a Muslim girl who later elopes to Bombay evading their parents disapproval. Years pass and they lead a happy life but it is during this time that the turmoil begins that costs people their lives and livelihood. Mobs from both the communities hunt down each other and kill in the name of religion.

Releasing such a movie at that time was made difficult for director Mani Ratnam, who faced objections from both the religions. Bal Thackrey wanted some of the dialogues spoken by the actor Tinnu Anand (playing Thackeray in the film); but there were objections saying that the certain dialogues were lifted from his speech only and are not any additions. But succumbing to the pressure, Ratnam had to make those certain edits. Later, sections of the Muslim community raised objections on various grounds. First was that a Muslim girl eloping with a Hindu boy was considered as de-shaming their society. Second was the usage of artistic freedom.

Engineer argues that Mani Ratnam should not have made the cuts relating to Thackeray as once you submit to such threats by the leader of one community, you will have to face threats from leaders of the other community also. Ratnam would have been morally on much stronger ground in resisting the threats of Muslim leaders. And the government should not allow any pressure tactics to work once the film is approved by the Censor Board.

She goes on to talk about how Ratnam failed to show the analysis of the riot and its causes. So the film is deemed with more of a commercial value rather than artistic value. She compares it with respect to Govind Nihalani’s ‘Tamas’, and says that it is of far superior variety as the film makes a serious attempt to understand the causes of partition and violence which followed in its wake. ‘Bombay’, on the other hand, is a curious mixture of realism and fantasy. But, it must be said to the credit of the film that it does make an attempt to reduce the gulf between Hindus and Muslims. Hence this movie was welcome among the masses.

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Amritha S – Agency, Narrativity and Gender in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s “The Palace of Illusions”

     Agency, Narrativity, Gender in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Palace Of Illusions.

The researcher, Kavita Nair in her article, “Agency, Narrativity and Gender in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Palace Of Illusions” observes how Divakaruni’s Draupadi has more agency than the other interpretations.  Draupadi has a critical insight into her own story in this version.  Draupadi not only responds to her life s events critically, she also analyses the responses of others, trying to deconstruct their words and intentions.  The researcher is dissatisfied with the way the female characters are portrayed in the original Mahabharata. Though there were powerful characters such as Kunti, Gandhari, and Draupadi in the epic, they did not have the space to express their thoughts and opinions as openly as the contemporary versions.

Draupadi in Divakaruni’s version is assertive. She wants to break free from the belittling interpretations of herself. She wants to voice her own story and script her own destiny. The researcher then focuses on the prophecies of Draupadi’s life. Draupadi, according to the researcher is a modern feminist. She wants to position herself as a subject in the play of events, rather than an object of desire, who gets caught up in the web of men’s desires. Though, she is skeptical about the prophecy coming true, as she feels her own self-stifled in the palace of her father’s. Draupadi s desire for an individual palace is her quest for an identity, to have a story of her own, away from the pandemonium of her patriarchal father’s house. The researcher further analyses the book, in terms of Draupadi’s words, where she says her life should be a riot of colour and sound. She then brings in an analogy between her life and the Indian performative art, Nataka.

“She hints at the theatricality of her life by suggesting the ‗drsya‘ aspect (color) and the ‗sravya‘ aspect (sound). She wants her life to be seen as a Nataka, which privileges her character using the multimedial narrative mode of theatre. Significantly, Draupadi, in keeping with the Indian Nataka tradition” ( Nair 4).

The researcher reads the book, positioning Draupadi as the Sutradahari, who narrates her own life, and her own choices. She does not want to play a part in any other script. She wants to play the leading role, in her own story, as it gives her more freedom and space to express herself.

“Discussing the structure of a classical Nataka, Lockwood and Bhat say, ―…our view is that the prologue of a Sanskrit drama is carefully crafted by the playwright so that by aesthetic design the sutradhara must take a specific leading role – not just some role”           ( Nair 5)

According to the researcher, Divakaruni’s version is the most authentic, as it has no authorial intervention. Though Ved Vyasa appears as a character in the book, there is absolutely no one except Draupadi’s voice in the story.  Even when there are other narrators like Dhai ma in the story, Draupadi makes sure the construction of the story inscribes her in history.

The researcher comments on how Draupadi, plays the role of a Sutradari, who calls the title of the play to the audience and also plays a major role in the play. Draupadi as the Sutradhari introduces the book as Panchali’s Mahabharata, and initiates actions where she plays the lead role. She is more assertive and has more agency in this version, as she is writing her own story. The researcher adds, all the versions of Draupadi are constructionist accounts, which served the cause of patriarchal hermeneutics. Divakaruni addresses these issues and turns them into acts of resistance.

Druapadi’s journey from being a subject of narrations in all other interpretations  of  the Mahabharata is holding a position that subjectivizes narration itself. The researcher believes by being both the narrator and the point of action in the novel, by giving Draupadi a voice, Divakaruni gives womanhood a voice.

Nair, Kavita. “Agency, Narrativity Gender in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Palace Of Illusions.” LANGUAGE IN INDIA 11.6 (2011): 150-58. Web. 30 June 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obiya Jolly_Helene Cixous and ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’

Klages, Mary. “Helene Cixous and ‘The Laugh of the Medusa'” Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Continuum, 2006. 98-106. Print.

Helene Cixous and ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’

This excerpt from Mary Klages’ book discusses the theoretical framework which will be employed in the proposed research; L’ecriture feminine. The text, “Helen Cixous and ‘The Laugh of Medusa’, offers a comprehensive understanding of the framework L’ecriture feminine by French feminist theorist Helene Cixous. This text would be instrumental in explaining the theoretical framework employed in the research paper, though it does not contribute to the review of existing research. Rather, this would be considered as contributive to the theoretical understanding. However, certain instances from the text could be employed in the analysis of the poems selected.

Cixous’ project has two aims, “She wants to destroy (or perhaps deconstruct) the phallogocentric system Lacan describes, and to project some new strategies for a new kind of relation between female bodies and language” (99). As Klages describes, Cixous’ project is about how the phallogocentric notion of language is challenged and how a language that accommodates women is formed. L’ecriture feminine is considered as the counterpart of phallogocentric masculine writing. She makes another major point that directly relates to this research; l’ecriture feminine is possible only in poetry. Klages paraphrases Cixous’ words, “ In poetry, however, language is set free-the chains of signifiers flow more freely, and meaning is less determinate” (102).  Another major point that she makes is that L’ecriture feminine cannot be encoded within strict definitions. Its nature is fluid, but it “can be ‘conceived of’ -…- by subjects not subjugated to a central authority” (104). Hence, L’ecriture feminine is about subjects, male or female, who are independent of the central anchoring authority.

Towards the research, this theoretical reading is helpful to understand the methodology for the research. Earlier, my impression was that L’ecriture feminine can be easily defined as women writing about/with their bodies. However, this excerpt gives me more clarity about the concept.

 

Garnet- 1537230

Lazuli,Lapis.. “Jumpa Lahiri’s novel as a tragedy of relations” An International Literary Journal 4.2(2014)

The main argument put forth by the author is that Jumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Lowland’ is a narration of the agony and anguish her character undergo. Alienation is focal point in the development of her themes. She breathlessly recounted three generations alienating history. In fact she directed alienation into her characters. Alienation runs along with the blood. Circulation. Subash Mitra is more sinned than sinning. His parents were obliged to live emotionally fractured life. Gouri appears sheer selfish and opportunist. She tried hard to shun all her Indian ethinicity but failed largely. Bela is just victim of her parents’ happiness and entragement.

Vijay Mishra’s hypothesis that ‘all diaspories are unhappy’ is one hundred percent correct. Her all characters are emotionally broken. It seems that alienation is part and parcel of their lives. It cieculates into their views constantly.

This research failed to point out the love between the relationships that stood parallel to the theme of alienation in the novel. Its true that love is not the focal point of this research but still it would have been better if the research point out alienation with references to the love and how it failed to support each characters without being alienated.

Merin Jose-A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO FILM ADAPTATON( continuation)

LITERATURE AND FILM- A GUIDE TO THE THEORY AND PRACTICE; Stam, Robert, Raengo, Alessandro. Print

A fourth, related source of hostility to film and adaptation is the obverse form of iconophobia , to wit logophilia , or the valorization of the verbal, typical of cultures rooted in the sacred word of the’’ religions of the book ‘’ . It is symptomatic, in this sense , that many litterateurs rejects film based on anthropology. The common current, coming from such different disciplinary angles, is the nostalgic exaltation of the written word as the privileged medium of communication.

A fifth source of hostility to film and adaptation – and here we move in more speculative directions – is anti-corporeality, a distance for the unseemly ‘’embodiedness’’ of the filmic text ; the ‘’seen’’, to recycle a venerable pun , is regarded as obscene. Film offends through its inescapable materiality , its incarnated , fleshly, enacted characters, its real locales and palpable props, its carnality and visceral shocks to the nervous system. Unlike film, literature is seen as channeled on a higher, more cerebral, trans-sensual and out-of-body plane . While novels are absorbed through the mind’s eye during reading , films directly engage the various senses. As the cognitive theorist points out, films have impact on our stomach , heart and skin, working through ‘’neural structures’’ and ‘’ visuo-motor schemata’’. Vivian Sobchak, following on Merleau-Ponty, calls film the ‘’expresssion of experience by experience’’ , which deploys Kinetic, haptic, and sensuous modes of embodied existence. Although novel reading as well as film spectatorship constitutes a purely mental event, novels are not literally seen through lenses, projected on wider screens, or heard in sound measurable in decibels, sounds which can break glass or damage eardrums.
A sixth source of hostility of adaptation is called the myth of facility , the completely uniformed and somewhat puritanical notion that films are suspectly easy to make and suspectly pleasurable to watch. This myth relates , first of all a cliché about production : ‘’ a director merely films what’s there’’. This idea is subliminally inked to what might be called ‘’apparatusism’’, the by-now –discredited and technologically deterministic assumption that the cinema , as a mechanical means of reproduction , merely registers external appearances, and therefore cannot be art. On the production side , the facility myth ignores the diversified talents and Herculean efforts required actually to make films .On the reception side, it ignores the intense perceptual and conceptual lobor-the work of iconic designation, visual deciphering, narrative inference and construction inherent I films. Like novels of any complexity , films too bear ‘’rereading’’, precisely because so much can be missed in a single viewing.( To Be Continued)

Ganga: Continuation Gender and Household Economics. Reversed Realities.

Kabeer, Naila. “Benevolent Dictators, Maternal Altruists and Patriarchal Contracts: Gender and Household Economics”. Reversed Realities. Pauls Press. New Delhi. 1995. 95- 115. Print.

Reversed Realities: Gender Hierarchies in Development Thought

Naila Kabeer

(Continuation of the previous post…)

In the next portion of the chapter, Kabeer talks about the Beckerian model of a household, where every individual member is treated as disembodied units of labour, differentiated only productivity-related characteristics. And she gives examples of how responsibilities of the children and duties within the four walls of the house are delegated to the female members, and anything that links the household to the society is the male’s responsibility. This bring us to the ink with my research. When labour is delegated by default, the children understand this to be the way of the world. In their head, the female members all over the world have to be responsible for the matters inside the household.

Futhermore, Kabeer talks about Decision-making power in the household. Here, she talks about the women and children as the less powerful in the household. In this case she explains, decision-making happens in the general interest of the household, where the less powerful give up their preferences for the dominants'(male members) interests.

In this chapter of the book, Kabeer validates household economics and realities in the South Asian scenario, and to be specific the middle-class households of the South Asian regions. This is why certain ideas may negate the existence of equality in the household.

Anjali Saji On ‘Bombay’

Engineer, Ashgar Ali. “Economic and PoliticalWeekly”; On ‘Bombay’. Vol. 30, No.
26 (Jul. 1, 1995). P. 1556. Web. 23-06-2016

This article from the Economic and Political Weekly deals with the situations and restrictions the film Bombay faced while releasing. Bombay deals with the socio-political situation between the Hindus and Muslims during the Babari masjid scenario. This movie shows a Hindu boy falling in love with a Muslim girl who later elopes to Bombay evading their parents disapproval. Years pass and they lead a happy life but it is during this time that the turmoil begins that costs people their lives and livelihood. Mobs from both the communities hunt down each other and kill in the name of religion.
Releasing such a movie at that time was made difficult for director Mani Ratnam, who faced objections from both the religions. Bal Thackrey wanted some of the dialogues spoken by the actor Tinnu Anand (playing Thackeray in the film); but there were objections saying that the certain dialogues were lifted from his speech only and are not any additions. But succumbing to the pressure, Ratnam had to make those certain edits. Later, sections of the Muslim community raised objections on various grounds. First was that a Muslim girl eloping with a Hindu boy was considered as de-shaming their society. Second was the usage of artistic freedom.
Engineer argues that Mani Ratnam should not have made the cuts relating to Thackeray as once you submit to such threats by the leader of one community, you will have to face threats from leaders of the other community also. Ratnam would have been morally on much stronger ground in resisting the threats of Muslim leaders. And the government should not allow any pressure tactics to work once the film is approved by the Censor Board.
She goes on to talk about how Ratnam failed to show the analysis of the riot and its causes. So the film is deemed with more of a commercial value rather than artistic value. She compares it with respect to Govind Nihalani’s ‘Tamas’, and says that it is of far superior variety as the film makes a serious attempt to understand the causes of partition and violence which followed in its wake. ‘Bombay’, on the other hand, is a curious mixture of realism and fantasy. But, it must be said to the credit of the film that it does make an attempt to reduce the gulf between Hindus and Muslims. Hence this movie was welcome among the masses.